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  1. Rushikesh Reply

    Ange, Thanks so much for visiting this blog and taikng the time to comment. For those who haven’t read her humor columns in the Equine Journal, go see how much fun she has with words and let her put a chuckle in your day.My gripe and use of the term desensitizing in the context of this blog applies to what some of those who have hijacked the term Natural Horsemanship are doing to these poor horses and some of the novice riders that don’t know what they don’t know. Of course, introducing horses to situations in a patient and progressive manner is essential in preparing them for competitive or even pleasure demands that will be requested in the future. Personally, I prefer the term acclimation to desensitization as the former allows a discovery process that includes the horse. What I object to is a growing movement that is encouraging bombarding a horse with so much crisis stimuli they either grow numb or are encouraged by a Pavlov’s approach to dismiss all natural instincts. Either way, you rob the horse of his potential by taikng away his ability to be a partner in the decisions. I do appreciate and concur with your comments on riders seeking and trainers providing robots. I used to be able to do this. Experience and maturity has caused me to realize that doing so rips the heart out of the horse and doesn’t serve either the equine or human in the long-term. The most difficult horses I’ve worked with have proven to be the most outstanding performers provided they are given the chance to be heard, understood and appreciated. Manipulative training approaches may make for a safe steed, but if you want a horse to work with you, you need to customize your approach to meet them in the middle.

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